Internal review decision made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
Decision and reason for decision of Tayla (Position Number 62217695), Information
Access Officer, Information Law Section, Legal Services and Audit Branch, Department of
Date of primary decision:
9 October 2020
FOI reference number (Primary):
Internal review decision date:
3 December 2020
Internal review reference number:
Sent by email:
Dear Mr Shafran,
Freedom of Information Request: FOI 38980
1. The purpose of this letter is to give you a decision about your request for Internal Review
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
2. I have made a decision to affirm the original decision made by the primary decision maker
Famida, Position Number 62212449, Information Access Officer, Information Law Section.
That decision was to grant you full access to the Department’s CLIK and SOP’s website link,
directing you specifically to the Compensation and Support Policy Library.
Authority to make this decision
3. I, Tayla (Position Number 62217695), Information Access Officer, Information Law Section,
am an officer authorised by the Secretary of the Department to make decisions about access
to documents in the possession of the Department in accordance with section 23(1) of the
4. On 9 September 2020 you made a request for access to documents in the possession of the
Department. Your request sought access to:
‘…I request the specific policy document that is issued to officers that are delegated the
powers of the Repatriation Commission for the purposes of conducting their duties under
5. On 30 September 2020, the Department consulted with you in relation to the searches
conducted by the Department to date. The business area had advised that the policy
document in which you were seeking was found in a CLIK and SOP, both of which are
publically available and were provided to you within the Department’s email dated 30
September 2020. At this stage, the Department requested that you consider withdrawing
your request as a result of providing you with the relevant links.
6. On 8 October 2020, the Department once again consulted with you regarding potential y
withdrawing your request. The Department did not receive a response to either of these
correspondences and thereby the Department proceeded with issuing a decision.
7. As no extensions of time were applied to process your request, a decision on your request
was due by 9 October 2020.
8. On 9 October 2020, you were provided with a decision relating to access to documents
within scope of your request. The outcome of this request was a full access decision to the
same website links that were provided to you via email on 30 September 2020.
9. On 3 November 2020, you requested an Internal Review of the primary decision. In your
request, you specifical y noted:
‘…you appear to have s17 and s19 mixed up, I am after the duties of the representative of
the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, not the Delegate of the Repatriation
Commission Yours sincerely…’
10. The Department has undertaken additional searches of its records and has been unable to
identify any further documents matching the description of your request.
11. As no extensions of time have been applied to process this Internal Review, a decision on
your request is due by 3 December 2020.
Material taken into account
12. In accordance with section 26(1)(a) of the FOI Act, my findings on any material question of
fact, the material on which those findings were based and the reasons for my decision to
grant full access to the document fol ows.
13. I have taken the following material into account in making my decision:
the terms of your original request and internal review request;
the types of information and documents that are in the Department’s possession;
the content of the documents that fall within the scope of your request;
Sections 3, 11 and 11A of the FOI Act which give the Australian community a legally
enforceable right to obtain access to information held by the Government of the
the Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under section 93A
of the FOI Act (FOI Guidelines).
14. A full extract of all FOI Act provisions used to make my decision are provided in Schedule 2
Supporting or additional information
15. On further review of the website material that the Department has already provided to you
as part of the original decision, the relevant business areas advised that you may wish to
have regard to the following specific website material within the CLIK’s that you have
already been referred to:
Access to documents
16. The specific documents released to you in accordance with the FOI Act are enclosed.
Information Publication Scheme
17. The Information Publication Scheme requires the Department to publish information
released in response to individual requests made under the FOI Act, except in specified
18. I am of the view that details of your request should be made available on the Department’s
FOI Disclosure Log. As such, details of your request will be published on the Department’s
FOI Disclosure Log which can be accessed at http://www.dva.gov.au/about-dva/freedom-
Please note that the Department does not publish details of
FOI applicants, it only publishes details of the FOI request and the documents released in
response to the request.
Your rights of review
19. Under section 54L of the FOI Act, you may apply to the Office of the Australian Information
) to review my decision. An application for review by OAIC must be
made in writing within 60 days of the date of this letter, and be lodged in one of the
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
(02) 9284 9666
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
20. More information about your review rights under the FOI Act is available in Fact Sheet 12
published by the OAIC: http://oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/foi-resources/freedom-
21. If you wish to discuss this decision, please do not hesitate to contact the Information Law
Section using the fol owing details:
Legal Services and Audit Branch, Department of Veterans’ Affairs
GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601
(02) 6289 6337
Tayla (Position Number 62217695)
Information Access Officer
Information Law Section
Legal Services and Audit Branch
3 December 2020
Schedule of documents
3 December 2020
FOI reference number:
Document Date of
Pages Decision Exemption Additional
Compensation and Support Policy Library N/A Ful Access
15 of this
Statements of Principles
N/A A Access
15 of this
Schedule of relevant provisions in the FOI Act
The objects of this Act are to give the Australian community access to information held by
the Government of the Commonwealth or the Government of Norfolk Island, by:
requiring agencies to publish the information; and
providing for a right of access to documents.
The Parliament intends, by these objects, to promote Australia’s representative democracy
by contributing towards the fol owing:
increasing public participation in Government processes, with a view to promoting
better informed decision-making;
increasing scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of the Government’s
The Parliament also intends, by these objects, to increase recognition that information held
by the Government is to be managed for public purposes, and is a national resource.
The Parliament also intends that functions and powers given by this Act are to be
performed and exercised, as far as possible, to facilitate and promote public access to
information, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost.
11 Right of access
Subject to this Act, every person has a legally enforceable right to obtain access in
accordance with this Act to:
a document of an agency, other than an exempt document; or
an official document of a Minister, other than an exempt document.
Subject to this Act, a person’s right of access is not affected by:
any reasons the person gives for seeking access; or
the agency’s or Minister’s belief as to what are his or her reasons for seeking
11A Access to documents on request
This section applies if:
a request is made by a person, in accordance with subsection 15(2), to an agency or
Minister for access to:
a document of the agency; or
an official document of the Minister; and
any charge that, under the regulations, is required to be paid before access is given
has been paid.
This section applies subject to this Act.
Other provisions of this Act are relevant to decisions about access to documents, for example the fol owing:
section 12 (documents otherwise available);
section 13 (documents in national institutions);
section 15A (personnel records);
section 22 (access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted).
Mandatory access—general rule
The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document in accordance with
this Act, subject to this section.
Exemptions and conditional exemptions
The agency or Minister is not required by this Act to give the person access to the
document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is an exempt document.
Access may be given to an exempt document apart from under this Act, whether or not in response to a request (see
section 3A (objects—information or documents otherwise accessible)).
The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document if it is conditionally
exempt at a particular time unless (in the circumstances) access to the document at that
time would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest.
Note 1: Division 3 of Part IV provides for when a document is conditional y exempt.
Note 2: A conditional y exempt document is an exempt document if access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to
the public interest (see section 31B (exempt documents for the purposes of Part IV)).
Note 3: Section 11B deals with when it is contrary to the public interest to give a person access to the document.
Despite subsection (5), the agency or Minister is not required to give access to the
document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is both:
a conditional y exempt document; and
an exempt document:
under Division 2 of Part IV (exemptions); or
within the meaning of paragraph (b) or (c) of the definition of exempt
document in subsection 4(1).
Requests for access (as related to the requirements for requests)
Persons may request access
(1) Subject to section 15A, a person who wishes to obtain access to a document of an agency
or an official document of a Minister may request access to the document.
Requirements for request
The request must:
be in writing; and
(aa) state that the request is an application for the purposes of this Act; and
provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably necessary to
enable a responsible officer of the agency, or the Minister, to identify it; and
give details of how notices under this Act may be sent to the applicant (for
example, by providing an electronic address to which notices may be sent by
(2A) The request must be sent to the agency or Minister. The request may be sent in any of the
delivery to an officer of the agency, or a member of the staff of the Minister, at the
address of any central or regional office of the agency or Minister specified in a
current telephone directory;
postage by pre-paid post to an address mentioned in paragraph (a);
sending by electronic communication to an electronic address specified by the
agency or Minister.
Decisions to be made by authorised persons
Subject to subsection (2), a decision in respect of a request made to an agency may be
made, on behalf of the agency, by the responsible Minister or the principal officer of the
agency or, subject to the regulations, by an officer of the agency acting within the scope of
authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the
responsible Minister or the principal officer of the agency.
A decision in respect of a request made to a court, or made to a tribunal, authority or body
that is specified in Schedule 1, may be made on behalf of that court, tribunal, authority or
body by the principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body or, subject to the
regulations, by an officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body acting within the scope
of authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the
principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body.
Reasons and other particulars of decisions to be given
Where, in relation to a request, a decision is made relating to a refusal to grant access to a
document in accordance with the request or deferring provision of access to a document,
the decision-maker shall cause the applicant to be given notice in writing of the decision,
and the notice shal :
state the findings on any material questions of fact, referring to the material on
which those findings were based, and state the reasons for the decision; and
in the case of a decision to refuse to give access to a conditionally exempt
document—include in those reasons the public interest factors taken into account
in making the decision; and
Access must general y be given to a conditional y exempt document unless it would be contrary to the public
interest (see section 11A).
where the decision relates to a document of an agency, state the name and
designation of the person giving the decision; and
give to the applicant appropriate information concerning:
his or her rights with respect to review of the decision;
his or her rights to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner in
relation to the decision; and
the procedure for the exercise of the rights referred to in subparagraphs (i)
and (ii); including (where applicable) particulars of the manner in which an
application for internal review (Part VI) and IC review (Part VII) may be
Section 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 does not apply to a
decision referred to in subsection (1).
A notice under this section is not required to contain any matter that is of such a nature
that its inclusion in a document of an agency would cause that document to be an exempt
(see section 11A).
54A Internal review—access grant decision
(1) This section applies if an access grant decision is made in relation to a request to an
agency for access to a document, other than a decision made personally by the
principal officer of the agency or the responsible Minister.
(2) The affected third party for the document may apply under this Part for the review
(the internal review
) of the access grant decision.
Note: For affected third party, see section 53C
Internal review—decision on internal review
(1) This section applies if an application for internal review of an access refusal decision or
an access grant decision (the original decision) is made in accordance with this Part.
(2) The agency must, as soon as practicable, arrange for a person (other than the person
who made the original decision) to review the decision.
(3) The person must make a fresh decision on behalf of the agency within 30 days after the
day on which the application was received by, or on behalf of, the agency.
Notice of decision
(4) Section 26 extends to a decision made under this section.